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Baal, the rival of jehovah

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In this study I have explored a number of resources to glean information on the god Baal in order to understand why this god has been such a rival of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How can it be that this god, who is no god at all, could be such a rival to Jehovah that God's people could not be kept from worshiping him, rather than the God who brought them out of Egypt, and did all kinds of amazing miracles on their behalf? The battles to stop the people from this false idolatry seem endless as we read the Old Testament. They may succeed for awhile, but soon the people are back following the worship of this enemy to Jehovah. What is the secret to the power of this god made up by the minds of pagans? How could the worship of this deity become so popular that the only way God could eliminate it was to send his people in great judgment out of the Promised Land that he had led them into? The goal of this study is to make sense of this mystery.

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Baal, the rival of jehovah

  1. 1. BAAL, THE RIVAL OF JEHOVAH Written and edited By Glenn Pease In this study I have explored a number of resources to glean information on the god Baal in order to understand why this god has been such a rival of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How can it be that this god, who is no god at all, could be such a rival to Jehovah that God's people could not be kept from worshiping him, rather than the God who brought them out of Egypt, and did all kinds of amazing miracles on their behalf? The battles to stop the people from this false idolatry seem endless as we read the Old Testament. They may succeed for awhile, but soon the people are back following the worship of this enemy to Jehovah. What is the secret to the power of this god made up by the minds of pagans? How could the worship of this deity become so popular that the only way God could eliminate it was to send his people in great judgment out of the Promised Land that he had led them into? The goal of this study is to make sense of this mystery. .AME: The word Baal means "master" or "owner", or even “lord.” The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “So in Hebrew, a man is styled baal of a house (Exodus 22:7; Judges 19:22), of a field (Job 21:39), of cattle (Exodus 21:28; Isaiah 1:3) of wealth (Eccles, v, 12), even of a wife (Exodus 21:3; cf. Genesis 3:16).” Sometimes places were linked to Baal indicating that a temple to him was located there. Biblical references to baals associated with various places include: Baal Hazor, Baal Hermon, Baal Heon, Baal Peor, Baal Perazim, Baal Shalisha, Baal Tamar, Baal Zephon and others. Here are a couple of examples you can look up: Baal Peor (.um 25:3, 5; Deut 4:3; Hos 9:10), Baal Hermon (Judg 3:3). Sometimes personal names are linked with Baal indicating how popular he was. .ames like Ethbaal and Jerubbaal, for example. Jerubbaal is none other than the great judge of Israel Gideon, and it means Baal strives. A descendant of Jacob's firstborn son was named Baal (I Chron. 5:5). An uncle of King Saul (that is, a brother of Saul's father, Kish) was also named Baal (I Chron. 9:35-39). One also finds Eshbaal (one of Saul's sons), Meribaal (Saul's grandson) The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that even Jehovah himself is sometimes referred to as Baal because of its meaning “lord.” It says, “.ames like Esbaal (1 Chronicles 8:33; 9:39), Meribbaal (1 Chronicles 8:34; 9:40), Baaliada (1 Chronicles 14:7), given by Saul, Johnathen, and David to their sons, suggest that Yahweh was possibly spoken of as Baal. The fact has been disputed; but the existence of such a name as Baalia (i.e. "Yahweh is Baal", 1 Chronicles 12:5) and the affirmation of Osee (ii, 16) are arguments that cannot be slighted.” ORIGI. A.D .ATURE: Baal was of Canaan. He was the son of El, the high god of Canaan. As time went on he became in the 14th century BC the chief god of the universe. He was the god that many temples were built for because he was the god of fertility, and the people depended on him for their crops. He
  2. 2. controlled the rain so essential for their livelihood. This made him popular, and so the Jews also began to worship him in the hopes that he would bring them prosperity. He was the god of success in that day, and that always makes for a popular god. Encyclopedia of Judaism, “The most important of the Canaanite fertility gods, son of El and brother of Anath. As the god of wind and rain, Baal was related to the productivity of the soil, and by extension his cult included animal and human fertility as well. Its strong sexual overtones are attested by the presence of the corresponding female symbol, Ashtoreth. The worship of Baal was regarded as one of the greatest threats to early Israelite religion, either undermining or perverting the worship of Israel's God. Many biblical references show the extent of its influence; Hosea addresses the moral and religious ruin which it brought upon the .orthern Kingdom of Israel (e.g., Hos. 2:10, 13:1), while Jeremiah describes this abhorrent worship, including child sacrifice, as occurring at the very gates of Jerusalem (Jer. 19). WORSHIP: Alan G. Hefner, “The cult of Baal celebrated annually his death and resurrection as a part of the Canaanite fertility rituals. These ceremonies often included human sacrifice and temple prostitution. The religion of the god Baal was widely accepted among the ancient Jews, and although it was put down at times, it was never permanently stamped out. Kings and other royalty of the ten Biblical tribes worshiped the god. The ordinary people ardently worshipped this sun god too because their prosperity depended on the productivity of their crops and livestock. The god's images were erected on many buildings. Within the religion there appeared to be numerous priests and various classes of devotees. During the ceremonies they wore appropriate robes. The ceremonies included burning incense, and offering burnt sacrifices, occasionally consisting of human victims. The officiating priests danced around the altars, chanting frantically and cutting themselves with knives to inspire the attention and compassion of the god.” Dennis Bratcher, “Ba‘al religion revolved around the cycles of nature necessary for survival and prosperity in the ancient world, primarily growing crops or raising livestock, as well as the growth of human populations. .ot surprisingly, in an arid and agriculturally marginal area of the world the fertility of land and crops played a large role in Canaanite world view. Also as expected, water was a major element of the myth and its images. Likewise, in an environment where human existence was often precarious for a variety of reasons human fertility was an important concern, not only for survival, but also due to the fact that people were one of the most important resources.........Worship of Ba‘al involved imitative magic, the performance of rituals, including sacred prostitution, which were understood to bring vitality to Ba‘al in his struggle with Mot. It takes little imagination to see the connection between the human sexual act and rain watering the earth to produce fruit. It is interesting to note in passing that the biblical traditions use these same agrarian images of being fruitful or barren to describe vitality in human beings.....Ba‘al is often portrayed as "Rider of the Clouds," and described in imagery associated with storms and meteorological phenomena, including clouds, thunder, lightning, and hail. The myth gives assurance of some stability in the physical world, assisted by humans in their service to the gods, that would allow continued human existence.”
  3. 3. Bratcher goes on to point out that the Jews never abandoned the worship of Yahweh, but just added the worship of Baal to their lives to assure themselves of success. Yahweh had done marvelous miracles in their lives as the God of power and victory over enemies, but now that they were settled in the land they felt the need for a god of everyday life that would help them in raising their crops and livestock. It seemed to be a practical thing to do to add the worship of Baal to their lives, for he was the popular god among the Canaanite people who were their neighbors. We have popular idols in our culture, and Christians make them their idols as well. They may be sports idols, or movie star idols, and believers in Jesus are just as wrapped up in these people as unbelievers. It almost comes to the level of worship as they are followed and money is spent in pursuit of them. So it was in ancient Israel as the people chose to get involved with the popular idols of their day, and Baal was the most popular of all. Keep in mind the sexual attraction to Baal worship. Sex with a temple prostitute as a part of worship was a temptation that would be hard to resist for many. How many men would be more faithful to be in church if there was the chance of having sex as a part of the service? Bratcher says, “The actual worship of Ba‘al was carried out in terms of imitative magic whereby sexual acts by both male and female temple prostitutes were understood to arouse Ba‘al who then brought rain to make Mother Earth fertile (in some forms of the myth, represented by a female consort, Asherah or Astarte).” Add good crops and extra sex to the mix and you can see why the worship of Baal was popular and hard to resist. We read in Gen. 38:15-38 that Judah fathered twin boys through his own daughter-in-law who was posing as a temple prostitute. Here was one of God's chosen men choosing to have sex with no thought of sinfulness because it was with one he thought was a sacred prostitute, where sex was just the normal thing to do. “While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the Lord's anger burned against them.” (.umbers 25:1-3). Jewish Encyclopedia says, “The noxious elements in such Ba'al-Worship were not simply the degradation of Yhwh and the enthronement in his place of a baseless superstition. The chief evil arose from the fact that the Ba'als were more than mere religious fantasies. They were made the symbols of the reproductive powers of nature, and thus their worship ministered to sexual indulgences, which it at the same time legalized and encouraged. Further, there was placed side by side with the Ba'al a corresponding female symbol, the Ashtoreth (Babyl. "Ashtar") and the relation between the two deities was set forth as the example and the motive of unbridled sensuality. The evil became all the worse when in the popular view Yhwh himself was regarded as one of the Ba'als and the chief of them (Hosea ii. 16). It was in northern Israel, where agriculture was more followed than in the southern kingdom, that Ba'al-Worship was most insidious and virulent.” You can see why it was hard for God's people to reject Baal worship, and why it became the primary villain of Jehovah worship. It was stomped on time after time, but it kept coming back. It was never defeated until God sent Israel into exile for 70 years, and that finally convinced them to be faithful to Yahweh and forsake Baal worship. David B Loughran of Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland wrote about the female goddess that was a part of the worship of Baal. He quotes Westminster Dictionary of the Bible first, “Of the goddess ASTORETH the same dictionary says: "... She was the goddess of sexual love, maternity and fertility. Prostitution as a religious rite in the service of this goddess under
  4. 4. various names is widely attested. The identification of 'Ashtart with Aphrodite is evidence of her sexual character." "Ashtaroth (plural of Astoreth). In connection with the plural of Baal, a general designation for the female divinities of the Canaanites ..." "Asherah refers to a wooden pole or mast which stood at Canaanite places of worship (Exo.34:13); originally it was, perhaps, the trunk of a tree with branches chopped off, and was regarded as the wooden symbol of the goddess Asherah, who like Ashtoreth, was a type of fertility ... It was erected beside the altar of Baal. (Judg 6:25, 28)" Then he goes on to write, “We can see from these quotes that Baal and Ashtaroth worship incorporated illegal sexual acts and that the Asherah was nothing but a phallic symbol. That word lascivious means lewd, lustful, licentious, lecherous, bawdy. In other words Baal worship was accompanied with sinful sexual acts; behaviour expressly forbidden in Jehovah's law.” Jay Johansen describes the Baal worship, “One ritual they practiced was the "sacred orgy". The people would get together, get very drunk, and engage in promiscuous sex. The stated reason for this ceremony was to celebrate fertility: By acting out acts of reproduction, they thanked their gods, Baal and Asherah, for their success at bearing children, breeding animals, and growing crops, and prayed for more of the same........Excuse me if I'm being cynical, but I find it difficult to avoid wondering if the orgy's were inspired, not by religious devotion or even a materialistic desire for more crops and animals, but rather by simple lust. Did these people really see this as their solemn religious duty? Did teenagers whine, "Oh mom, do I have to go to the orgy? I have so much homework to do"? Or was the religion a thin excuse for doing what they wanted to do anyway? Of course, people are complex. It is quite possible that people saw a mystical, religious significance to sex, and also the fact that the ritual was fun didn't exactly hinder its appeal.” Jay goes on to explain why they also sacrificed babies in their pagan religion. The orgies would produce both wanted and unwanted babies, and so they had to have a solution to deal with the unwanted babies. He wrote, “You have a bunch of people having wild orgies, and inevitably some number of pregnancies will result. Of course there was no real birth control back then. If the woman is married and reasonably settled and well off, maybe its no problem. Sure, the baby isn't her husband's, but they may not even know that for sure, and if they're both practicing this religion, it would seem likely that neither of them would be too upset by the fine moral niceties. But what if the pregnant woman is young and single and poor? How is she going to take care of a baby? Life is hard enough for single mothers in a wealthy, modern country like the United States, where there are many technological gadgets to ease the burden. Imagine trying to take care of a baby without disposable diapers, a microwave oven, a washing machine and vacuum cleaner to clean up messes, etc etc. What would a poor Carthagian girl do with this unwanted child? Child sacrifice provides an easy, convenient answer: give him to the god. That is, kill him and burn the body. How neat and tidy! The people wanted cheap sex, so their religion provided a convenient excuse for it. But then they had a lot of unwanted babies, so their religion provided a convenient way to dispose of them.” The bottom line is that the worship of success and sex is still alive and well, and so even if the word and name Baal is long dead and gone, the essence of his worship is prevalent yet in our culture, and Christians are caught up in it just as Jews were in the Old Testament. More and more success, and more and more sex is still the craving of the culture, and of the believers who live in this culture. God gets an hour on Sunday, and the gods of money and sex get the major share of the rest of the week. If any unwanted babies are a result, we have an easy solution in the abortion clinic nearby. Even though everything is different, everything is still the same, for the ancient gods are still in rivalry with the God of creation and the Lord of our salvation.
  5. 5. The paradox is that great success and good sex are blessings that God wants for us to enjoy. The Bible is full of the positive success and sex that are what God wants for his people. The problem is that these good things become obsessions that take over our lives so that God himself has to take a back seat where he gets a mere fragment of our devotion. That is what leads these good things to become idols and rivals of our Lord. How can Jesus be Lord of our lives if the majority of our lives are spent in the pursuit of success and sex, and whatever is left over is devoted to him? Baal is still master and owner of our lives if he controls the majority of it. He is still a nonexistent god, but with the same power he had in the Old Testament when we are devoted to his values. Why are Christian marriages breaking down more than ever? Is it because Christian couples are spending too much time in Christian service? .ot likely. It is more likely due to their spending too much of their life in pursuit of more and better sex, and more and better things. Both of which are valid Biblical pursuits, but believers do not know the Bible, and so they pursue these values from the world's perspective and become idolaters instead of Bible students. We are constantly reading of professing believers who are indulging themselves in immoral sex, and all sorts of unethical business practices that are ripping people off, and robbing them of a secure future. This is Baal worship even if they never heard of this godless god. The only way to avoid becoming an idolater is to be ever searching the Word of God for his wisdom, guidance, and truth. False gods lead by lies, but the God of the Bible leads by truth. Listen to his Word. II KI.GS 20:3 "I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight." PSA 33:4 "For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth." PSA 145:18 "The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth." JOH.3 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." JOH. 4:24 "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." JOH. 8:31-32 "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." LUKE 6:46: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" We cannot server two masters. We have to choose between the Baal master and the Jesus master, and this means that we have to be students of the Word, seeking to walk daily in the light of the truth that he reveals. This demands time and focus as we seek to know his will and do it. Most of the time Christians just let the culture determine their behavior, and this means Baal is still a major influence in their lives. Success and sex achieved outside of God's revealed will are a form of Baal worship, but they can be achieved in valid ways that lead us to praise God for these great blessings. We need God's truth to achieve these values according to his will, and that is why study of the Bible is so basic to living a life pleasing to God. The rivalry goes on, and every day we are responding to the challenge, “choose this day whom you will serve.”
  6. 6. I am including in this study a list of over 100 texts that refer to Baal so that you can see what a major issue he was all through the Old Testament. These are taken from the official .IV site where you can go and click on the read this chapter and get the full context of each verse. This list makes it clear that the greatest rival to the God of the Bible was this pagan god Baal. He seduced God's people over and over, and it led to the greatest judgments upon them, and yet it was almost impossible to get them to reject this rival god. That is why Christians have linked Baal to Satan, for he is now the perpetual rival of Jesus, and the lion that goes about seeking to devour his followers. This battle of good and evil will not end until history ends and Satan is cast into the lake of fire, and believers are transformed into heavenly and eternal beings in the .ew Jerusalem of heaven. Read these texts and be aware that the one who inspired the role of Baal is till alive and well, and still enticing us to put God on the back burner as we pursue the ways of the world. Numbers 25:3 NIV • Read this chapter So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD's anger burned against them. Numbers 25:5 NIV • Read this chapter So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor." Deuteronomy 4:3 NIV • Read this chapter You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, Judges 2:11 NIV • Read this chapter Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. Judges 2:13 NIV • Read this chapter because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. Judges 3:7 NIV • Read this chapter [ Othniel ] The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. Judges 6:25 NIV • Read this chapter That same night the LORD said to him, "Take the second bull from your father's herd, the one seven years old. [ Or Take a full-grown, mature bull from your father's herd ] Tear down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole [ That is, a symbol of the goddess Asherah; here and elsewhere in Judges ] beside it. Judges 6:28 NIV • Read this chapter In the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal's altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar! Judges 6:30 NIV • Read this chapter The men of the town demanded of Joash, "Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal's altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it." Judges 6:31 NIV • Read this chapter But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, "Are you going to plead Baal's cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is
  7. 7. a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar." Judges 6:32 NIV • Read this chapter So that day they called Gideon "Jerub-Baal, [ Jerub-Baal means let Baal contend . ] " saying, "Let Baal contend with him," because he broke down Baal's altar. Judges 7:1 NIV • Read this chapter [ Gideon Defeats the Midianites ] Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. Judges 8:29 NIV • Read this chapter Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. Judges 8:33 NIV • Read this chapter .o sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and Judges 8:35 NIV • Read this chapter They also failed to show kindness to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) for all the good things he had done for them. Judges 10:6 NIV • Read this chapter [ Jephthah ] Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him, Judges 10:10 NIV • Read this chapter Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, "We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals." 1 Samuel 7:4 NIV • Read this chapter So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only. 1 Samuel 12:10 NIV • Read this chapter They cried out to the LORD and said, 'We have sinned; we have forsaken the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve you.' 1 Kings 16:31 NIV • Read this chapter He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of .ebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 1 Kings 16:32 NIV • Read this chapter He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 1 Kings 18:18 NIV • Read this chapter "I have not made trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the LORD's commands and have followed the Baals. 1 Kings 18:19 NIV • Read this chapter .ow summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table." 1 Kings 18:21 NIV • Read this chapter
  8. 8. Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18:22 NIV • Read this chapter Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 1 Kings 18:25 NIV • Read this chapter Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." 1 Kings 18:26 NIV • Read this chapter So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 1 Kings 18:40 NIV • Read this chapter Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. 1 Kings 19:18 NIV • Read this chapter Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him." 1 Kings 22:53 NIV • Read this chapter He served and worshiped Baal and provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done. 2 Kings 1:2 NIV • Read this chapter .ow Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, "Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury." 2 Kings 1:3 NIV • Read this chapter But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?' 2 Kings 1:6 NIV • Read this chapter "A man came to meet us," they replied. "And he said to us, 'Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, "This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending men to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!" ' " 2 Kings 1:16 NIV • Read this chapter He told the king, "This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!" 2 Kings 3:2 NIV • Read this chapter He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. 2 Kings 10:18 NIV • Read this chapter
  9. 9. [ Ministers of Baal Killed ] Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, "Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much. 2 Kings 10:19 NIV • Read this chapter .ow summon all the prophets of Baal, all his ministers and all his priests. See that no one is missing, because I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live." But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the ministers of Baal. 2 Kings 10:20 NIV • Read this chapter Jehu said, "Call an assembly in honor of Baal." So they proclaimed it. 2 Kings 10:21 NIV • Read this chapter Then he sent word throughout Israel, and all the ministers of Baal came; not one stayed away. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from one end to the other. 2 Kings 10:22 NIV • Read this chapter And Jehu said to the keeper of the wardrobe, "Bring robes for all the ministers of Baal." So he brought out robes for them. 2 Kings 10:23 NIV • Read this chapter Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Recab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the ministers of Baal, "Look around and see that no servants of the LORD are here with you—only ministers of Baal." 2 Kings 10:25 NIV • Read this chapter As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: "Go in and kill them; let no one escape." So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal. 2 Kings 10:26 NIV • Read this chapter They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it. 2 Kings 10:27 NIV • Read this chapter They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day. 2 Kings 10:28 NIV • Read this chapter So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. 2 Kings 11:18 NIV • Read this chapter All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. Then Jehoiada the priest posted guards at the temple of the LORD. 2 Kings 17:16 NIV • Read this chapter They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 2 Kings 21:3 NIV • Read this chapter He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them.
  10. 10. 2 Kings 23:4 NIV • Read this chapter The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. 2 Kings 23:5 NIV • Read this chapter He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. 2 Chronicles 17:3 NIV • Read this chapter The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because in his early years he walked in the ways his father David had followed. He did not consult the Baals 2 Chronicles 23:17 NIV • Read this chapter All the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. 2 Chronicles 24:7 NIV • Read this chapter .ow the sons of that wicked woman Athaliah had broken into the temple of God and had used even its sacred objects for the Baals. 2 Chronicles 28:2 NIV • Read this chapter He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and also made cast idols for worshiping the Baals. 2 Chronicles 33:3 NIV • Read this chapter He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 2 Chronicles 34:4 NIV • Read this chapter Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles, the idols and the images. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. Psalm 106:28 NIV • Read this chapter They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; Jeremiah 2:8 NIV • Read this chapter The priests did not ask, 'Where is the LORD ?' Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. Jeremiah 2:23 NIV • Read this chapter "How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals'? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, Jeremiah 7:9 NIV • Read this chapter " 'Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, [ Or and swear by false gods ] burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, Jeremiah 9:14 NIV • Read this chapter Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their fathers taught them." Jeremiah 11:13 NIV • Read this chapter You have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.'
  11. 11. Jeremiah 11:17 NIV • Read this chapter The LORD Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done evil and provoked me to anger by burning incense to Baal. Jeremiah 12:16 NIV • Read this chapter And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, 'As surely as the LORD lives'-even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will be established among my people. Jeremiah 19:5 NIV • Read this chapter They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal— something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. Jeremiah 23:13 NIV • Read this chapter "Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. Jeremiah 23:27 NIV • Read this chapter They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. Jeremiah 32:29 NIV • Read this chapter The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down, along with the houses where the people provoked me to anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods. Jeremiah 32:35 NIV • Read this chapter They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters [ Or to make their sons and daughters pass through the fire ] to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin. Hosea 2:8 NIV • Read this chapter She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold— which they used for Baal. Hosea 2:13 NIV • Read this chapter I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot," declares the LORD. Hosea 2:17 NIV • Read this chapter I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. Hosea 11:2 NIV • Read this chapter But the more I [ Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew they ] called Israel, the further they went from me. [ Septuagint; Hebrew them ] They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. Hosea 13:1 NIV • Read this chapter [ The Lord 's Anger Against Israel ] When Ephraim spoke, men trembled; he was exalted in Israel. But he became guilty of Baal worship and died. Zephaniah 1:4 NIV • Read this chapter
  12. 12. [ Against Judah ] "I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests- Romans 11:4 NIV • Read this chapter And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." [ 1 Kings 19:18]

In this study I have explored a number of resources to glean information on the god Baal in order to understand why this god has been such a rival of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How can it be that this god, who is no god at all, could be such a rival to Jehovah that God's people could not be kept from worshiping him, rather than the God who brought them out of Egypt, and did all kinds of amazing miracles on their behalf? The battles to stop the people from this false idolatry seem endless as we read the Old Testament. They may succeed for awhile, but soon the people are back following the worship of this enemy to Jehovah. What is the secret to the power of this god made up by the minds of pagans? How could the worship of this deity become so popular that the only way God could eliminate it was to send his people in great judgment out of the Promised Land that he had led them into? The goal of this study is to make sense of this mystery.

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